Commentary Magazine


Re: The Agent of Cynicism

Pete, your rather masterful depiction of the Obama administration’s tumble from Olympian heights was proven deadly right once again today. Four examples validate your analysis:

First, the hypocrisy festival continues. The president offers another howler in his remarks on the economy today: “I don’t like the idea of spending more money, nor am I interested in expanding government’s role.” (The rest of his remarks explain why no recession is going to stand in the way of his grandiose plans.) At some point you wonder why there isn’t someone in the White House saying, “Guys, they’re goin’ to laugh.” Or cry.

And if that weren’t enough of a shortcoming on the fronts of intellectual honesty and political courage, we are reminded that a key policy point on which Obama bashed John McCain during the campaign — the taxability of employer-provided health benefits — may now be part of his own healthcare plan. What’s more, we hear “some congressional Democrats say the White House has signaled that Obama would accept a tax on employer benefits as long as he didn’t have to propose it himself.” How courageous of him!

Next, travel company execs met with the president to try to get government to stop bad-mouthing the travel industry. The complaint was likely prompted by Obama’s snarky put down of Las Vegas. (Perhaps a Summit On Travel. That would be just another day of president not attending to the economic recovery.) But this is, of course, the problem: an industry’s representatives have to meet with the president to tell him to stop bashing their livelihood. It’s stunning, really, that the president has to be told not to actively impede a key sector of our economy.

Finally, another Treasury Department pick drops out. Uniformly hailed as a “grown up” and highly knowledgeable about the banking industry, Rodgin Cohen’s failure to make it through the vetting process suggests something is very, very wrong with a system that lets Tom Daschle in and keeps him out.

This is all in a single day, mind you. Pete, unfortunately your analysis is proving more accurate by the moment.

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